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Hero Down: Wilcox County Constable Madison ‘Skip’ Nicholson Murdered By Gunman

Yellow Bluff, AL – Wilcox County Constable Madison “Skip” Nicholson was murdered in the line of duty Dec. 1 while responding to a domestic disturbance.

Constable Nicholson, 78, previously served 40 years as a deputy and reserve deputy for the Wilcox County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO), according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

He was working as a process server and constable for Wilcox County shortly before 5 p.m. on Dec. 1 when a call came in about a domestic disturbance on Shamburger Road.

A female victim said her estranged husband threatened to kill her before leaving to go get a gun, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Constable Nicholson and WCSO Chief Deputy Trenton Gulley responded to the scene and came under fire almost immediately, The Birmingham News reported.

The gunman, later identified as 52-year-old Billy Bizzell, shot both law enforcement officers during the attack.

Chief Deputy Gulley, who was hit in the arm, was able to return fire and fatally wounded the suspect, The Birmingham News reported.

The chief deputy was transported to a Thomasville hospital for treatment and has since been released to recover at home, according to The Birmingham News.

Constable Nicholson was shot multiple times in his neck and chest, according to Wilcox County Emergency Management Agency Director Melissa Dove.

The critically-wounded constable was airlifted to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, where he succumbed to his injuries, The Birmingham News reported.

“While holding his hand, and feeling him squeezing mine, was what I thought, was a sign from him, telling me that he was alright. So, I told him to hang in there and that he was going to make it,’’ Pine Hill Police Chief NiKisha Gailes wrote in a Facebook post early the next morning. “But before he could make it to his destination in Pensacola, I received the call, only a few minutes later, that he only made it to Mobile, and he didn’t make it.”

Chief Gailes said law enforcement officers desperately need the support of their communities and government leaders.

“Instead of trying to find fault in your local officers, pray for us instead,” she wrote. “We’re not always okay out here! We are humans also…”

Constable Nicholson spent years working as an unpaid reserve deputy before joining the WCSO as a jailer, constable, and process server, The Birmingham News reported.

He served as an elected constable for the past 21 years, the Alabama Constable’s Association (ACA) told the Associated Press.

Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) Secretary Hal Taylor offered his condolences to Constable Nicholson’s friends and family members in a statement shortly after his murder, The Birmingham News reported.

“Once again, we have tragically lost a hero with a servant’s heart to protect and serve the citizens of Alabama,” Taylor said. “Retired Deputy Nicholson was a true professional and dedicated public servant. His dedication to serve the public will always be remembered and the sacrifice he made will never be forgotten.”

ACA President Chauncey Wood said Constable Nicholson was simply known as “The Constable” in the tiny Yellow Bluff community, according to the Associated Press.

“We know the citizens will miss his kindness and heart for service. He was a true servant of the people. He loved his job and always took care of his community,” Wood said.

Wilcox County Sheriff Earnest Evans said Constable Nicholson was “one of the greatest people” he’s ever known, The Birmingham News reported.

The two men worked together for decades and were close friends, especially after they were both shot in the line of duty while responding to a call together in the 1990s.

Sheriff Evans was hit in the legs and pelvic area, while Constable Nicholson was shot in the arm.

“He and I had been together for a long time,” Sheriff Evans told The Birmingham News.

Constable Nicholson leaves behind his wife, daughter, two sons, and eight grandchildren.

“He was everybody’s granddad, everybody’s uncle,’’ his son, Kevin Nicholson, told The Birmingham News. “He was my everything.”

Kevin Nicholson said his father loved being a law enforcement officer, even when he wasn’t being paid to protect and serve.

“He just couldn’t stay away,’’ he said. “It was his love for his community and him doing his civil duty.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Wilcox County Constable Madison “Skip” Nicholson, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Constable Madison Nicholson, your life mattered.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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